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World's largest respiratory genetics study launches on World COPD Day
Date:11/14/2012

of its kind.

All UK Biobank participants have already had their lung function measured and given information about their smoking habits, past and present. In this study, researchers will use anonymous data from 50,000 of these participants to determine genetic variants associated with susceptibility to COPD. They will look at both rare and common single nucleotide polymorphisms (tiny variations in genes) in the participants' DNA and the lung function of those who are heavy smokers and those who have never smoked.

Leading the research is Professor Ian Hall, Dean of The University of Nottingham's Medical School. He said: "We currently know very little about why there is such a wide difference in lung health, even among smokers. We believe genetic factors play an important role so we're extremely excited about using the unique resource of Biobank to test this theory in detail. This study couldn't be done anywhere else in the world."

Professor David Lomas, Chair of the MRC Population and Systems Medicine Board, said: "We know that smoking is unhealthy for anyone but we know little about why the lungs of most smokers are seriously affected, while those of some seem to stay relatively healthy. If we knew more about the genetics that cause this variation we would be better able to direct treatments to those who are most at risk and have an increased chance of developing drugs to target this type of lung disease."

Professor Sir Rory Collins, UK Biobank Principal Investigator, said: "We are extremely grateful to the half a million people throughout Britain who went out of their way to join UK Biobank. Their commitment will provide key insights into a wide range of illnesses that kill and cause pain and suffering. Last week we heard of plans to use the resource to study dementia. This week UK Biobank helps scientists tackle a serious lung condition. UK Biobank will become a key resource to improve health in the 21st century. We are grateful
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Contact: Emma Thorne
emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-595-15793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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